March 26, 2009

39th All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference from 4th to 7th April 2009 at Matrubhaban, Cuttack

CUTTACK - 753 013
Tel : (0671) 2344338, 2340718, 9437120220, 9437023407
e-mail :
Please visit us at :
4th, 5th, 6th & 7th April
Om Namo Bhagabate Sri Aurobindayah
Dear Sir / Madam,
"39th All Orissa Sri Aurobindo Study Circle Conference''
will be held during 4th to 7th April 2009 at Matrubhaban, Cuttack
as per the Programme given below. Sri Sraddhalu Ranade of
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry has kindly consented to
inaugurate the Conference on 4th April at 5.30 pm. Dr. Ashok Das
from Pondicherry, Prof. Biswanath Ray from Calcutta and exponents
on The Mother & Sri Aurobindo from in & outside the state will also
participate in this conference.
You are requested to kindly attend the conference with other
members of your Study Circle.
Yours Sincerely

04.04.2009 (Saturday)
05.30 pm . Hoisting of the Mother’s Flag
. Vande Mataram
. March Past
(Members of all zones are requested to
participate in white uniform)
. Opening of Exhibition
06.00 pm - 06.15 pm . Collective Meditation around Samadhi
06.30 pm - 08.30 pm . INAUGURAL SESSION
. Meditation with Mother’s Music
Recitation from Savitri . Dr. Shyama Kanungo
Welcome Address . Sri Nityananda Samantray
Introduction . Sri Gadadhar Mishra
. Opening of Souvenir
Inaugural Address . Sri Sradhhalu Ranade
Speaker . Prof. Malabika Ray
Subject . The March of India in the quest of Her
great Destiny
08.30 pm - 09.00 pm . Cultural Programme
05.04.2009 (Sunday)
08.30 am - 12.00 noon . MORNING SESSION
Discussion on Letters on Yoga
Introduction . Sri Sraddhalu Ranade
Transformation of Physical . Dr. Debidutta Kar
. Sri Bimal Prasanna Das
. Sri Rabi Padhi
. Sri Prakash Chandra Panda
. Sri Purnachandra Mohapatra
. Sri Subash Chandra Kar
. Sri Pravakar Mishra
02.30 pm - 04.30 pm . AFTERNOON SESSION
. Discussion on Celebration of Babaji
Maharaj's Birth Centenary & Message of
Pranab Da: "No violence, No-division",
Preparation for the centenary for
Sri Aurobinodo's Final arrival at
Pondicherry, IML, Website, Friends of
Co-ordinators . Sri Anadi Charan Swain
. Sri Ch. Nirakar
06.30 pm - 08.30 pm . EVENING SESSION
Recitation . Km. Namita
Speakers . Dr. Biranchi Narayan Mohapatra
. Dr. Archana Nayak
. Prof. Mohapatra Nilamani Sahu
Subject . Is Transformation the aim of Integral
08.30 pm - 09.00 pm . Cultural Programme
06.04.2009 (Monday)
08.30 am - 12.00 noon . MORNING SESSION
Discussion on Letters on Yoga
Transformation of Physical . Smt. Kanaklata Mohanty
. Dr. Malabika Ray
. Sri Saroj Kanta Mishra
. Sri Sanjay Kumar Mohapatra
. Sri Ramesh Ch. Nayak
. Sri Santosh Kumar Gahan
. Dr. Biranchi Narayan Mohapatra
. Sri Braja Mohan Behera
02.30 pm - 4.30 pm . AFTERNOON SESSION
. Integral Education in Orissa and the
responsibility of Sri Aurobindo Study
Circle organisers, Dasakarmadhara
Co-ordinators . Sri Anadi Charan Swain
. Sri Ch. Nirakar
06.30 pm - 08.30 pm . EVENING SESSION
Recitation . Sk. Amzad
Speakers . Prof. Biswanath Ray
. Prof. Chandra Sekhar Rath
Subject . Sri Aurobindo's plan for the next
08.30 pm - 09.00 pm . Cultural Programme
07.04.2009 (Tuesday)
08.30 am - 12.00 pm . MORNING SESSION
Discussion on Letters on Yoga
Transformation of Physical . Sri Dharanidhar Pal
. Sri Bhagirathi Mohapatra
. Sri Prasant Kumar Swain
. Sri Ramesh Chandra Sahu
. Sri Radhakanta Mishra
. Sri Balakrishna Nayak
. Smt. Rita Chand
. Dr. Archana Nayak
Concluding "Letters on Yoga" . Sri Anandi Ch. Swain
. Prof. Biswanath Ray
02.30 pm - 4.30 pm . AFTERNOON SESSION
. Relics Centers in Orissa,
Sri Aurobindo University,
District Sports
Co-ordinators . Sri Anadi Charan Swain
. Sri Ch. Nirakar
06.30 pm - 08.30 pm . CLOSING SESSION
Recitation . Smt. Bandita Ray
Speakers . Sri Ch. Nirakar
. Prof. Biswanath Ray
Subject . The Mother as the Supreme
Consciousness on Earth
Concluding Remarks . Sri Gadadhar Mishra
Vote of Thanks . Sri Prasad Tripathy

6.00-6.15 a.m. Collective Meditation
6.15-7.00 a.m. Pranayam/Shramdaan
7.30-8.15 a.m. Breakfast
8.30-12.00 Noon Morning Session
12.30-1.30 p.m. Lunch
2.30-4.30 p.m. Afternoon Session
4.30-5.30 p.m. Phy. Edn./Shramdaan
6.00-6.15 p.m. Collective Meditation
6.30- 8.30 p.m. Evening Session
8.30-9.00 p.m. Cultural Programme
9.00-10.00 p.m. Dinner
9437120220, 9437023407
e-mail :
Please visit us at :

Soliciting groups for 7 day camps to be held in village Kechla

AuroMira Service Society
March 26, 2009
Kechla The Land School People contact Kechla Trip Information
E Mail Phones : 6568 4154, 93100 76614, 2656 7863 E Mail Fax : 011-26857449 Auro-Mira Service Society Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Delhi Branch, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi – 110016

Tribal Areal Rural Living Experience with Health / Adventure Activities
We are soliciting groups for 7 day camps to be held in village Kechla (district Koraput, Orissa). Koraput is situated on the national highway between Visakhapatnam & Raipur. It is connected by direct trains to Howrah, Bhubaneswar, Rayagada (Orissa), Jagdalpur (Orissa) and Visakhapatnam.

Kechla, a conglomeration of several hamlets of purely tribal populace numbering some 1,400 souls in quite a wide region, is located on the shore of the Upper Kolab reservoir. The rugged terrain and clean air of Kechla with not even electricity to pollute the surroundings strikes the town dwellers as a special boon and is bound to be an unusually exhilarating experience. The campsite now boasts of solar pump & windmill to draw water, solar lights, and solar heating for water.

Campsite: In July 2004, Auro-Mira Service Society (AMSS) started a project in this backward area of Orissa at Kechla. Initially twenty-two acres of land alongside a peninsula of the Kolab River Reservoir surrounded by rolling hills is the project site. This part of Orissa is quite underdeveloped. AMSS envisages to accomplish the following objectives in this developmental project:

Tree plantation on the project site as well as on the denuded hilly terrain in the vicinity
Educational facilities for the tribal village
Cashew nut processing unit for the tribal village
Improved infrastructure. Better roads, boats.
Mainstreaming of the tribal populace
Keywords describing this camp : Environment; Health; Adventure; Rural living experience

THE activities of the camp will include Environment – Tree planting; Impeding soil erosion; Health – General health awareness. Talks and workshops on Healthy nutrition. Techniques for long-term care of heart & the circulatory system; lungs & the respiratory system; eyes & vision; ears & hearing; vertebral column & joints; teeth & gums; skin & hair, etc. A good grounding in teaching of appropriate asanas, pranayama, and routines to accomplish these objectives will depend on the duration of the camp. Keep-fit exercises

Adventure: Rappelling, and river-crossing. Swimming. Treks.

Fun: Learn folk-dances from Europe and the Middle EastIntegration: Interaction with tribal people, rugged rural living

OTHER ACTIVITIES may include Yoga/Keep Fit, Local Sight Seeing, Games, Meditation, Talks and Discussions, Cultural Presentations by participants, etc.

DISCIPLINE: A strict discipline is maintained throughout and all participants are required to follow the rules and regulations of the Institution and to uphold the sanctity of the place. Smoking is strictly prohibited on the Campus and drinking and use of drugs are forbidden during the entire period of the camp.

LODGING: Dormitory style, separate for males and females, with coir or foam matting. Participants will need to bring 2 sheets, pillow, and a blanket or sleeping bag.

FOOD: Nutritious & entirely vegetarian. We seek cooperation in matters of food. Since people participate from many states & family backgrounds, it is not possible for us to satisfy everybody's taste.

MEDICAL: Organisers will not be responsible for any accidents or illness. All medical expenses will have to be borne by the participants themselves.

Schools and college students can perhaps avail of educational tour discount. Telescopic tickets to Koraput should be economical by sleeper class even from distant places. Few Pictures from Camps held at Kechla (Please send us your email identity so that you can be invited to view more pictures in a picasa album)
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March 22, 2009

Sri Aurobindo's teleology does not square with the Abrahamic tradition

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"Science, Culture and Integral Yoga" - 1 new article
100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intilligent Design (part 1 or 6)

While the purpose Sri Aurobindo gives to evolution lends it directionality and transcendence. The fact that he presents a teleology as central to his views does not necessarily mean that his perspective squares with the contemporary theory known as Intelligent Design. Sri Aurobindo's teleology does not square with the fundamentalist view of the religions in the Abrahamic tradition, all of whom have found a common cause in the ideology of intelligent design, and who dismiss evolutionary biology because they find it threatening to their faith....

So called scientific theories of intelligent design often simply present a facade for creationist teaching. Although some Christian organizations have called on scientist not affiliated with their religious faith to discount evolutionary biology these scientist certainly represent a minority view in the scientific community at large. For instance, the faith based Discovery Institute, who is on the forefront of arguing that creationism be taught in American public school, has chosen to employ several scientist, some of whom claim to be atheist, to argue in support of their position...

While Sri Aurobindo does not buy into its materialist reduction of life, and openly voices his objection to the chauvinism of science, he does keep open the possibility that certain Darwinian mechanisms such as natural selection are at work in evolution, even if they can not by themselves fully account for it. While acknowledging the limitations of science he certainly does not seem to find its theories that diverge from his own threatening rather, he contextualizes them in accordance with his own integral comprehension of the world. In the following passage in his essay on Materialism (1915) he defers to science by referencing a religious text:.....

“we have not to hide our face from it any more than could Arjuna from the terrible figure of the Divine on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, or attempt to escape and evade it as Shiva, when there rose around him the many stupendous forms of the original Energy, fled from the vision of it to this and that quarter, forgetful of his own godhead. We must look existence in the face in whatever aspect it confronts us and be strong to find within as well as behind it the Divine.

Materialistic science had the courage to look at this universal truth with level eyes, to accept it calmly as a starting point and to inquire whether it was not after all the whole formula of universal being. Physical science must necessarily to its own first view be materialistic, because so long as it deals with the physical, it has for its own truth's sake to be physical both in its standpoint and method” 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intilligent Design (part 1 or 6)

More Recent Articles
Human Unity and the Illusion of Human Progress: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution (Introduction)
The Core Problem
Present Bodies: Gene, Organism, Environment: Richard Lewinton lecture (U Tube)
The Soul of a City: The Crystal Cathedral as Organizing Metaphor for (post)Modern Architecture at the Bauhaus
Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers N. Katherine Hayles

March 18, 2009

Sri Aurobindo's formulation of the evolution of consciousness itself builds on Darwin

Re: The Core Problem Tony Clifton Tue 17 Mar 2009 08:55 AM PDT Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

well, I am not sure, because IY is so complex a phenomena I'd hate to define it absolutely one way or the other however, in the former instance regards academic scholarship although it would certainly not comprise the entire practice it could be part of ones jnana yoga.

And although it would have to be qualified in the latter instance yes, I do think that some developments of scholarly view can be identical to what Sri Aurobindo calls the evolution of consciousness. In much the same way that he envisions the evolution of poetry as representative of the evolution of consciousness

Moreover, in Aurobindian terms -people who don't practice yoga at all - even scientist also experience the descent of higher, illumined, intuitive mind or whatever name one chooses to give it, the discovery of the structure of the benzene molecule is one such instance by Kekulé. IMO the importance of such intuition is implicit in Einsteins statement imagination is more important than knowledge.

Finally, yogic theories can borrow from scientist. And anytime one speaks of the evolution of consciousness in yogic terms one is doing just that as Sri Aurobindo's formulation of the evolution of consciousness itself builds on Darwin.

It seems in very concrete ways that, while on the one hand there are differences that must be appreciated that at the end of day, everything is hopelessly interconnected,

Re: The Core Problem Debashish Mon 16 Mar 2009 09:26 PM PDT

Relative valuation in works is inevitable unless one has attained a consciousness high and integral enough. A shoemaker cannot be expected to understand the true value of a painter and vice versa. That said, perhaps both of us are aiming at some eventual sense of the true place of these things in building the future.

In the meantime, let it suffice in the minimum allowance of some usefulness of the scholarly work, whether it looms larger for one or not. And let it also be allowed that this can be a legitimate part of yoga sadhana in the Integral Yoga. That and no more (but also no less) is necessary for integrality of effort.

Wolterstorff is a careful student of the 'bob and weave' school of philosophical polemics

from The Immanent Frame to Tusar Mohapatra date 18 Mar 2009 01:07 subject Wolterstorff and Smith discuss "Justice" The Immanent Frame Secularism, religion, and the public sphere

New at The Immanent Frame, an extended exchange between Nicholas Wolterstorff and James K. A. Smith:
Nicholas Wolterstorff: “The fine texture: A response to Smith
“I am at a loss to understand why Smith thinks that I have 'absorbed the atomistic individualism of modern liberalism'—why he thinks that I am a 'Whig Calvinist.' I hold that rights are a species of normative social relationships; sociality is of the essence of rights. A right is a right to the good of being treated a certain way by one’s fellows or by some social entity. I hold that social entities of various sorts have rights, and that, conversely, they are quite capable of violating the rights of you and me. I furthermore hold that rights are grounded in what respect for worth requires; rights are not, in my view, protectors of autonomy. So where is the individualism?” View this full post.

James K. A. Smith: “'Bob and weave': A response to Wolterstorff
“Nicholas Wolterstorff’s calm, careful, humble response to my posts might make me look like an overly pugilistic polemicist. But I think he’s just from a different school of pugilism. (As a Canadian and long-time hockey player, I think pugilism is a great way to spend a Friday night, with beers afterward.) Wolterstorff is a careful student of the 'bob and weave' school of philosophical polemics, turning ill-advised haymakers into merely glancing blows. I, on the other hand, tend to be a student of the George Foreman school of philosophical polemics (and frequent user of his grills to boot!): I’m easily sucked in by rope-a-dopes. Why stop now?” View this full post.

Also new at The Immanent Frame
Nicholas Wolterstorff: “Secular accounts: A response to Chambers
John D. Boy: “The fanantical counterpublic

The Immanent Frame is now on Facebook. Become a fan here. The Immanent Frame is a production of the Social Science Research Council1 Pierrepont Plaza - Brooklyn, NY 11201 - USA - Learn more about the SSRC’s work on religion & the public sphere

March 17, 2009

We no longer live in the times of either-or

Re: The Core Problem
by koantum on Mon 16 Mar 2009 05:47 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Dear All, The points I would have raised in response to Kepler's comments here and with regard to my review of his review of The Book have indeed mostly been made by now. The gist is of course that we no longer live in the times of either-or.

As the Mother once exclaimed in the course of a conversation, it's not this OR that but this AND that AND that...

No individual effort counts for much, but all together and the Force that secretly concerts them do. I would like to draw your attention to the article "Transformations and Transformers: Spirituality and the Academic Study of Mysticism" by G. William Barnard in the last issue of AntiMatters ( Those with little time should at least read the passages marked by sidebars. Reply

March 15, 2009

Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of a new and higher consciousness

THE SPEAKING TREE Evolutionary Ideas Of Aurobindo
TOI, 10 Sep 2004, 0000 hrs IST, Kishore Gandhi

Sri Aurobindo's insight and analysis of evolution are now part of the scientific and cultural landscape. But few scientists and artists know his evolutionary theories that are being proved true by modern science. While probing frontiers of science, physicists have discovered the limitation of the Newtonian mechanistic model at the level of galaxies and electrons. These discoveries have no doubt given the first glimmering of the new paradigm that matter and consciousness are the primary forces in the universe.

The theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, Heisenberg's principles of uncertainty, Bohr's laws, Schrodinger's resolution of particle/wave paradox, Prigogine's discovery of dissipative structures based on self-organising and self-transcendent systems, Roger Sperry's researches in the right and left implications of hemispheric brain processes, Ervin Laszlo's Psi hypothesis have all brought about major breakthroughs that have profound philosophical implications for science as a whole. This development marked a major shift from the clockwork paradigm to an uncertainty paradigm, from the absolute to the relative. The new model looks upon matter as being in some way a graded manifestation of consciousness. So increasingly, the West has been showing an increasing interest in Eastern thought, particularly in Buddhism and Vedanta.

The Isa Upanishad says, "Everything that exists in the cosmos, living or non-living, is the habitation of the divine". The Mundaka Upanishad says that one perceives "Brahmn verily in this resplendent cosmos, in front and behind, above and below, in the right and to the left. The universe is indeed all manifestation of the Brahmn". These mystical insights are being significantly recognised by physicists as a more accurate expression of the real structure of the universe than many of the classical theories of science. The dance of Shiva is inspiring physicists as a new reference point in explaining the creation of this world in terms of a unified field theory.

The double crises of civilisation and evolution today is the product of the human mind. I see through the eye, not with it, said William Blake. He also said that "if the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see the world as it is, infinite". Quite clearly, the human mind which imagines, reasons and creates is dynamically active, and is playing a critical role in the process of its own evolution and also in the survival and evolution of all living things. The future of our evolutionary course will be in the realm of psychic deve-lopment, and the new potentialities will make us surpass ourselves. The development of transdisciplinary approaches to knowledge corresponding to the creative manifestations of life is our model for tomorrow.

Aurobindo's philosophy of a new and higher consciousness for the future provides a convincing and viable alternative to a bewildered humanity that is living under the spell of multiple fears. The discoveries of modern science have no doubt given their own verdict of opposing alternatives — of either the Buddha or the bomb, for instance — and it is up to each one of us to decide which path to follow. To save history from being reduced to a tragedy of successive civilisations, we need to promote the Oneness Principle. Global consciousness is the only way out. [Sri Aurobindo: Evolutionary Ideas Of Sri Aurobindo] [Daily Excelsior... Editorial]

Immaterial production has more similarities to the pre-industrial capitalism

Communism conference — Michael Hardt
from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro [Hardt didn't mention this, but his periodization fits in well with McKenzie Wark's idea of a movement from landlords to industrialists to the current "vectorial class" of the owners of property rights to "information." Hardt, like Wark, is focused on what Wark calls "the property question"].

Today, informatic or immaterial production is focused on questions of so-called “intellectual property” (this is my term, not Hardt’s), in the forms of copyright, patents, etc. A company’s physical products often have value, not because of any actual use, but because they are manifestations of a “brand” to which consumers are attracted, or with which they identify. Massive sums of money are gained from things like patents on genetic sequences, genetically modified crops, rights to copyrights on music, video, and text, to (often frivolous) patents on supposed inventions, to control of certain channels of distribution, to a company’s working methods and “trade secrets,” and so on. Even traditional hard-manufacture factories are governed by informatics, and profit comes as much or more from control of the informational organization that governs production, than from the physical items in themselves that are produced (as these latter are not sold for much above cost).

According to Hardt, all this means that immaterial production has more similarities to the pre-industrial capitalism focused on the extraction of rent than it does to the (pre-informatic, or perhaps Fordist) industrial system that focused on the extraction of surplus value as profit. The most dynamic sort of capitalist appropriation today comes in the form of a renewed “primitive accumulation,” or privatization of the common: one can see how both the patenting of genetic sequences taken from plants used by traditional cultures, and the copyrighting of “new” ideas and their expression, fits into this paradigm. This means that the struggle against capitalism must take on radically different forms, compared to those of the 19th and early 20th centuries. According to Hardt, immaterial production qua primitive accumulation is more a case of the direct appropriation of the common by capitalists, than it is one of the indirect expropriation of the common through the sale and purchase of labor power as was the case under industrial capitalism. [Libertarians and Marxists agree on fictive finance at 12:41 PM] [Digital technologies bring with them new forms of control & micromanagement at 1:33 PM]

March 12, 2009

Nietzsche admires and envies Socrates as the "midwife" of the soul

On Sagehood and the Love of Wisdom from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog

Socrates assumes a number of guises. He partakes of the Greek ideals of rational discourse and intellectual "combat", but "rationalism" is not his teaching, as the moderns think. His "teaching", in fact, is rather odd. He seems to have no teaching at all and appears only to engage in enquiry. Aristotle notes, "Socrates used to ask questions and not answer them, for he used to confess that he did not know". At the same time Socrates refused to be called a master of wisdom. Epictetus says of him, "When people used to come and see him, they asked him to introduce them to lovers of wisdom; he readily complied, and at the same time willingly accepted to pass unnoticed himself." Pierre Hadot writes, "Since he had nothing to say, and no thesis to defend, all Socrates could do is ask questions, even though he himself refused to answer them." One is reminded here of Nagarjuna's paradoxical utterance in his Vigrahavyavatani: "I have no thesis (pratijna) to defend".

When we look at the "Socratic" Dialogues with this interpretive key, and consider them as literary works, we can see that "Socrates" is not so much interested in teaching a "theory of ideas", or what the "real" definition of justice is. He is actually only interested in his interlocutors. In the Apology he confesses that it has, all along, only ever been about teaching what each of his interlocutors "is". In the Dialogues, the enquiry winds about, comes to an impasse, Socrates takes it over, and then it all comes to a puzzling end, at which point both we and the interlocutor are not clear as to what it is we have learnt. But the pattern is always this: Socrates questions someone who thinks they know what they are talking about, and by the end of the interrogation it becomes quite clear that they don't know what they are talking about. The "teaching" here is simply that one should understand the limits of his knowledge and the limitations of his noetic capacities.

This same Socratic theme of knowing one's limitations reappears in the works of Kierkegaard, and here we find the other dominant "figure" in the West: that of Jesus. Here, the issue becomes not so much whether or not Kierkegaard's contemporaries are sages, but the degree to which they can be called "Christians". Kierkegaard sets an almost impossible standard here; indeed in his version of the "imitation of Christ" the only true Christian can be Christ himself. Just as Socrates finds no true sages among his peers, Kierkegaard finds no true "Christians".

We might say that for the ancients, the image of the "sage" functions entirely as a kind of "transcendent norm". Sage-hood lies beyond the grasp of the mere mortal, but it is something that should be striven after nonetheless. While sage-hood functions as a kind of transcendent norm that can only ever be approached asymptotically, the practical paradigm becomes that of the lover of wisdom, represented by the figure of Socrates (and other figures such as Pyrrho, Diogenes, Epicurus, and so on). Two of the characteristic features of this general teaching of the ancients can be said to be the teaching that the lover of wisdom is a composite of both wisdom/knowledge and folly/ignorance, and that the lover of wisdom unceasingly engages in enquiry (zetesis; skepsis).

According to Nietzsche, there are two sides to Socrates the teacher. One is the seducer of youths who rips the masks from the gods, dissolves their myths, and replaces them with the "knowledge of good and evil". As Hadot points out, this is the Socrates that Nietzsche despises, because this was what Nietzsche himself was so good at. The other is Socrates as the "midwife" of the soul, the Socrates who teaches his students to "care for their self". This is the Socrates that Nietzsche admires and envies, because he found this capacity to be so lacking in himself.

Hadot points out that the teacher as "midwife" does not so much engender the soul of the student as allow the student to engender his own soul. Somewhat paradoxically, the teacher teaches by becoming a kind of student himself. Kierkegaard writes, "The student is an opportunity for the teacher to understand himself, just as the teacher is an opportunity for the student to understand himself." Here, teaching, paedeia, becomes a kind of "spiritual exercise" in itself, and its paradigm of the teacher who remains the perennial student becomes an expression of the ideal of unceasing enquiry.

March 11, 2009

Butterfly Dream, Techno-Scopophilia, and Supersubstantivalism

Home Go to Books Book Search New Titles Forthcoming Titles Introductory Philosophy New Philosophy Journal Articles: these journal articles are all hosted on informaworld™, our online database of journals, eBooks, abstract databases and reference works from Routledge and the Taylor & Francis Group.

Toward a Theory of Progressive Evolution (Large-Scale Stages of Evolutionary Progress)
World Futures. Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 145–165. Zaltsman, Henry L..
A Transdisciplinary Perspective Concerning the Origin of the Species: The Migratory Theory of Genetic Fitness
World Futures. Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 166–175. Montoya, C. P.; Montoya, N. L.; Peck, D. A.; Montoya, D. E..
An Evolutionary Approach to Revising Modernization Theory: An Introduction to the Credible Polity
World Futures. Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 176–203. Goorha, Prateek.
The Nature of Evolution
World Futures. Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 204–221. Laszlo, Alexander.
A Review of “The Science of Leonardo: Inside the Mind of the Great Genius of the Renaissance by Fritjof Capra”
World Futures. Vol. 65, No. 3, pp. 222–223. Abraham, Ralph.
All's Fair in Love and Sport: Black Masculinity and Domestic Violence in the News
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 1–18. Enck-Wanzer, Suzanne Marie.
The Rhetoric of Nuclear Colonialism: Rhetorical Exclusion of American Indian Arguments in the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Siting Decision
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 39–60. Endres, Danielle.
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 84–85. Biesecker, Barbara A..
“Sweetheart, This Ain't Gender Studies”: Sexism and Superheroes
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 86–92. Stabile, Carol A..
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 98–102. Shugart, Helene.
How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Cynically ENJOY! The Post-9/11 Superhero Zeitgeist
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies. Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 103–109. Treat, Shaun.
Physician-Assisted Death in the Pacific Northwest
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 1–2. Jecker, Nancy S..
Agency and Responsibility in Health Care Worker Migration
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 8–9. Crozier, G. K. D..
Justice and the Reversal of the Healthcare Worker 'Brain-Drain'
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 10–12. List, Justin M..
Are Healthcare Workers Chained to Their Country of Origin?
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 16–18. Zivotofsky, Naomi; Zivotofsky, Ari Z..
Oregon's Experience: Evaluating the Record
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 19–27. Lindsay, Ronald A..
Physician-Assisted Dying—What Would Aristotle Do?
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 30–31. Duffy, James.
Why Involve Physicians in Assisted Suicide?
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 32–34. Paris, John J..
What is the Best Standard for the Standard of Care in Clinical Research?
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 35–43. van Delden, Johannes J. M.; van der Graaf, Rieke.
Standard-of-Care Propositions Should Permit Informative Comparisons
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 46–47. Mann, Howard.
The Bridge
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 51–53. Jones, Therese.
Response to Open Peer Commentaries on “Is Health Worker Migration a Case of Poaching?”
The American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. W1–W2. Snyder, Jeremy.
Autonomy under threat: a revised Frankfurtian account
Philosophical Explorations. Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 3–17. Nys, Thomas.
The trouble with prudence
Philosophical Explorations. Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 19–40. Laden, Anthony Simon.
Alternative motivation: a new challenge to moral judgment internalism
Philosophical Explorations. Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 41–53. Sneddon, Andrew.
Humean agent-neutral reasons?
Philosophical Explorations. Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 55–67. Evers, Daan.
Interpreting the Butterfly Dream
Asian Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 1–9. Han, Xiaoqiang.
Making Sense of Sorai: How to Deal with the Contradictions in Ogyu Sorai's Political Theory
Asian Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 11–30. Ansart, Olivier.
Li in East Asian Buddhism: One Approach from Plato's Parmenides
Asian Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 31–49. Behuniak, James.
Dynamic and Syncretic Dimensions to Santarak?ita's Presentation of the Two Truths
Asian Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 51–62. Blumenthal, James.
Contaminants and the Path to Salvation: A Study of the Sarvastivada H?daya Treatises
Asian Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 63–84. Dessein, Bart.
The Price of Serving Meat—On Confucius's and Mencius's Views of Human and Animal Rights
Asian Philosophy. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 85–99. Bai, Tongdong.
“You Talkin' To Me?” Mediating Postmodern Blackface in La Haine
Critical Studies in Media Communication. Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 1–18. Moscowitz, David.
Techno-Scopophilia: The Semiotics of Technological Pleasure in Film
Critical Studies in Media Communication. Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 19–35. Soukup, Charles.
Domestic Divo? Televised Treatments of Masculinity, Femininity and Food
Critical Studies in Media Communication. Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 36–53. Swenson, Rebecca.
Burning Mississippi into Memory? Cinematic Amnesia as a Resource for Remembering Civil Rights
Critical Studies in Media Communication. Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 54–79. Hoerl, Kristen.
Straightening Out (the Politics of) Same-Sex Parenting: Representing Gay Families in US Print News Stories and Photographs
Critical Studies in Media Communication. Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 80–100. Landau, Jamie.
Getting IT Across
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 1–3. Saunders, Alan.
Universalism, Vagueness and Supersubstantivalism
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 35–42. Effingham, Nikk.
Actions, thought-experiments and the 'Principle of alternate possibilities'
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 61–81. Alvarez, Maria.
Emergentism and supervenience physicalism
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 83–98. Howell, Robert J..
Senses for senses
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 99–117. Thompson, Brad.
The return of Taylor's Putnam
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 119–125. Kovach, Adam.
Trogdon on Monism and Intrinsicality
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 149–154. Skiles, Alexander.
In Defence of 'Partially Clad' Bare Particulars
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 155–158. Pickavance, Timothy.
Analytical Buddhism: The Two-Tiered Illusion of Self
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 159–162. Goodman, Charles.
Logical Pluralism
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 162–168. Humberstone, Lloyd.
Intending the World: A Phenomenology of International Affairs
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 174–175. van Hooft, Stan.
Patriotism: Philosophical and Political Perspectives
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 175–176. Formosa, Paul.
C. B. Martin
Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 87, No. 1, pp. 177–179. Heil, John. see more new articles…

March 10, 2009

Elements of a Psychology of Evolution

"Elements of a Psychology of Evolution" a talk by Thomas Dreyer ::: Unity Pavilion ::: Thu ::: 5:00 PM

Thomas Dreyer, of AVI-Germany, will present a talk on "Elements of a Psychology of Evolution" at Unity Pavilion, Thursday, March 12, at 5.00 PM
These elements of a Psychology of Evolution -- based on Sri Aurobindo's and Mothers writings on the topic -- were developed in context of a number of studies related to the overall theme of evolution, as a study on European history ranging from neolithic revolution to present time. posted by bhavana

University of Human Unity Seminar in Psychology of Social Development
Unity Pavilion ::: 9:30 AM

The Ever-Present Origin of Jean Gebser. The Mythical Structure of Consciousness (Power Point and discussion), by Vladimir.
All are welcome. posted by vladimir

Architecture students should ultimately study philosophy

By Nikos A. Salingaros & Kenneth G. Masden II.
Section of the longer paper "Intelligence-Based Design: A Sustainable Foundation
for Worldwide Architectural Education", ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of
Architectural Research, Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2008), pages 129-188. Reprinted
in two parts with comments in Archiwatch (February 2009).

The way philosophy is currently taught to architects tends to mix political ideology with idiosyncratic and subjective insights into society, and this muddled mess is presented as a theoretical basis for architectural and urban design. This practice is a terribly dangerous mix, as it gives students a perverted and erroneous, if not fraudulent basis for their profession. [...] Even though the majority of architecture professors are not overtly political, and even less declared Marxists, architecture schools have been dominated by a philosophy that arose from the radical political left. Critical theory and its architectural derivatives (which represent ideology rather than theory) continue to dictate architectural texts. [..]
Critical Theory has had its most insidious effect on architecture with the spread of the doctrine known as "Critical Regionalism". Proponents of this self-contradictory ideology assert that vernacular tradition and culture are dead, and that henceforth, regional architecture must adapt to modernist uniformization. They proclaim that the patterns and practices from which a region’s identity is derived are mere "nostalgia", and instead recommend the abstract aesthetics of international modernism (Cassidy, 2007). Any architectural expression, other than those possible within the restricted modernist aesthetic, is rejected. Those writers’ avowed intention is to create forms that do not belong to the vernacular form language. What results from this schizophrenic approach is not regional architecture in any sense, but a set of self-referential objects detached from their cultural roots, created and manipulated without regard to their regional context. (One occasionally sees an attempt at site-specific climatic adaptation, but nothing more).
Teachers thus use purely ideological arguments to validate a narrow set of design styles for students. That is as wrong as it is unsupported. It is only a means to further sustain a cult ideology that has dominated architectural education for the past several decades. The point is that good architecture and urbanism have nothing to do with political beliefs.
Worst of all, teachers apply techniques learned from political ideologues to coerce students and other academics into intellectual submission. Such forms of censorship are typical of a system that considers itself above all others. It gives itself the authority to reframe every member’s worldview. Whenever evidence is ignored, and is substituted by the irrational, that creates dogma. This erroneous style of teaching has become solidly established in today’s system.
One way to maintain the mystique of "architecture as an art" was to embrace ever more abstruse and incomprehensible texts, so as to shield the discipline’s shaky intellectual core from outside scrutiny. This obsession (or defensive tactic) has led architecture to embrace the nihilistic and deconstructive philosophers. Having architecture students read Derridean and Deleuzean philosophical texts disorients them, breaking down their critical faculties. Such disorientation could in fact be deliberate: a necessary psychological preparation for imprinting stylistic preferences in their minds (Salingaros, 2004).
Throwing the burden of teaching architects onto obscure philosophical texts enables architecture schools to endorse a very narrow set of design styles, embracing those currently in fashion.
The common justification given for studying philosophy is that architecture and urbanism are intimately tied to social phenomena, so that philosophy prepares a student to confront architectural problems. This explanation is a subterfuge, however, operating more as a means to avoid teaching architecture to students directly. The modernist teaching method, wherein all useful derived knowledge is thrown out in the tabula rasa approach, cannot openly admit that architectural and urban knowledge ever existed. If it did, then someone would have to explain how over 2,000 years of knowledge was lost, discarded, or ignored during the modernists’ 70-year reign. By diverting architecture students towards carefully selected philosophical authors, this action conveniently covers up the deliberate avoidance of any genuine, newly-derived or historically-relevant architectural theory.
So much of what now passes for "architectural theory" is therefore little more than doctrine. It conditions students to have absolute faith in a body of beliefs established in the absence of real-world criteria. Those beliefs set up the student’s worldview as shaped by the dynamics of in-group affiliation: a cognitive filter that bends information to fit, and rejects information that does not fit. Architectural education must in the future clearly separate architecture from politics, and also separate architecture from self-referential philosophy. Only teachers can train their students to do this. Both teachers and students can achieve this clarity of thought only after they understand the genuine theoretical basis of architecture, expressed in strictly architectural terms. Schools have a responsibility to teach a genuinely architectural basis for design.
Architecture students should ultimately study philosophy, but that is productive once they have formed a basis of what is really going on in architecture. And the philosophy they study has to be positive and humanistic. Many philosophers throughout history emphasize the necessity for human beings to connect to the universe, but architects hardly ever study those authors. Intelligence-Based Design has deep philosophical foundations. Humanly-adaptive architecture and urbanism arise out of a respect for humanity’s higher meaning in an infinite universe. There exists a vast body of philosophical work connecting humanity both with nature and with the sublime. One of our recommended texts, The Luminous Ground (Alexander, 2004) establishes a genuine philosophical foundation for an adaptive architecture.
  • Philosophers whose writings are essential for the sustainability of humankind try to understand otherwise puzzling human actions outside a strictly scientific framework.
  • They help us to delineate good from bad in human activities. This historical notion of "morality" recurs throughout the traditional treatises on philosophy of the entire world.
  • Numerous contemporary philosophers celebrate life and the sacredness of humanity.
  • Traditional religious texts are founded upon morality stories that help humanity to see beyond the limitations of human beings existing as animals or purely subjective beings.

But none of this is ever incorporated into architectural teaching today — which still turns to the same peculiar handful of (Western) philosophers, relying upon them to justify "architecture for architecture’s sake". Judging by how inhuman its forms are, the driving ideology is purely nihilistic, even as it serves global capital.

The separation between nihilism and humanism is total and uncompromising, however.
We have to choose very carefully which philosophers, and which texts to offer students for their reading assignments. A school cannot abrogate its responsibility by teaching architecture as a set of self-serving beliefs. In the twentieth century, architecture became a mass movement under the influence of leading architects who exploited specific philosophical texts to support their ideals and to promote themselves (Salingaros, 2004).
Architecture detached itself from any higher order in human existence, turning away from both nature and from the sacred. It was the first time in human history that humans began to intentionally create unnatural structures that are uncomfortable to inhabit and to experience.
Complexity and contradiction in urban India « VOICE OF WORDS At a more utopian level, the town of Auroville in south India has been a mystical answer to the question of Indian architecture. Posing as a city that welcomes all, Auroville has a master plan that resembles a revolving galaxy, ...By ahssan VOICE OF WORDS. 3:34 PM 3:57 PM

March 09, 2009

Ancient Greek and Roman worlds

Jan 29, 2009 Greek and Roman Networks in the Mediterranean
from Routledge History Arena - New Titles
Greek and Roman Networks in the Mediterranean
Edited by Irad Malkin, Christy Constantakopoulou, Katerina Panagopoulou

How useful is the concept of "network" for historical studies and the ancient world in particular? Using theoretical models of social network analysis, this book illuminates aspects of the economic, social, religious, and political history of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds.

Bringing together some of the most active and prominent researchers in ancient history, this book moves beyond political institutions, ethnic, and geographical boundaries in order to observe the ancient Mediterranean through a perspective of network interaction. It employs a wide range of approaches, and to examine relationships and interactions among various social entities in the Mediterranean. Chronologically, the book extends from the early Iron Age to the late Antique world, covering the Mediterranean between Antioch in the east to Massalia (Marseilles) in the west.

This book was published as two special issues in Mediterranean Historical Review.
ISBN: 9780415459891 Published January 29 2009 by Routledge.

Today the Auroville Library is online

Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > Current issue > Auroville library
A library in crisis - Priya Sundaravalli
The Auroville Library urgently needs a new building

Jürgen himself is not trained in the library sciences – he studied philosophy. “I learnt along the way, and I am still learning.” When Jürgen first came to Pondicherry , he was assigned the task of managing the little Auroville library then located in Pondicherry overlooking the beach. “That was for a short time,” he says, “but it was the first thing I was called to do.” Later he moved on to other things. Eleven years ago, when Lloyd decided to stop working at the Library, Jürgen took over.

In some ways, Jürgen reminds one of a character from one of the books on his shelves, a philosopher-scholar-pioneer-librarian all rolled into one – quirky and sentimental when it comes to books, gruff and grumpy with patrons who break the unwritten codes of library etiquette but quickly forgiving too, and tech-savvy, unafraid to embrace the developments of 21st century library science. But managing and running the Library, he confesses, has been an uphill battle.

For over three years, he has been working to get a new site and building plans approved. “We found a location opposite the Solar Kitchen in what is called the city centre area. It would also house the existing audio and video libraries.” He explains that Roger Anger had approved the building site before he passed away and L'Avenir d'Auroville also gave its support. But the project got stalled for lack of funds. At the moment Jürgen, with the help of architect Suhasini, has resubmitted a revised and scaled-down proposal.

Jürgen has a grand vision of uniting the different libraries in Auroville under one virtual platform. In 2005, he initiated the ‘All Auroville Library Project'. Its goal was to create an electronic database, linking all the libraries' databases, and to make this accessible from any location via the intranet. The idea found support from Stichting de Zaaier but the project could not fully manifest as not all the Auroville libraries wanted to participate. “The reason given was lack of manpower,” says Jürgen. Yet he went ahead and demonstrated the viability of the idea using an open source software, NewGen Lib. Today the Auroville Library is online. Registered patrons can renew books electronically, place reservations, or even download e-books from this site. The Library's catalogueing and readers registration systems are now state-of-the-art.

Jürgen has managed the near-impossible, with an insufficient budget, a derelict building, lack of infrastructure and unqualified staff. The Auroville Library now needs a better building. Urgently.

March 08, 2009

The virtues of life are comparable to the virtues of good writing – connectedness, grace, elegance

Things I've been reading recently: Lombardo, Nehamas, and Paglia
from The Middle Stage by Chandrahas
Some very fine things I've been reading recently (I recommend a cup of a good brew and at least an hour of free time for the proper reception of each of these sections):

An interview with Stanley Lombardo, one of the most recent flagholders of a venerable tradition, that of translating Homer's Odyssey into English ("The word Muse in Greek means ‘mind’ originally...Mind is for me the essence of translation. Odysseus has to attain the minds of many people in his wanderings. That’s what Homer has done, and it’s why his characters are so real — he attains the human mind, he attains many human minds. Translation is mind to mind, not dictionary to dictionary. Homer is a mind that I try to attain."). Chapter One of Lombardo's translation of the Odyssey is here, and if you'd like to hear a recording of him reading from the same section it is here. A friend recently bought me Lombardo's translation from the US (it is published by a small but very good publisher of classics, Hackett), and I've been trying to read it against the widely available Penguin translation by Robert Fagles.

An interview with the classics scholar Alexander Nehamas about Socrates, Nietzsche, Foucault, and also the relationship between book-learning and living in the world ("In modern times philosophy has traditionally been taken to be in the broadest sense a scientific discipline.... But in ancient Greece, as well as in a modest modern tradition, the primary issue is not to find answers to particular philosophical questions like "What is knowledge?" or "What is reality?" or "What is good?" The primary issue is to live a philosophic life. To be a philosopher is to be a certain kind of person, not simply to have views on certain issues. A philosopher who is a certain kind of person is also, of course, a person who has views on philosophical issues. But what matters is not just the answers such a person gives. What matters is the kind of connections you establish between various philosophical issues and the rest of your life. What matters is that a personality emerges who has asked certain kinds of questions and given certain kinds of answers to them, and who, most importantly, has constructed a life around such questions and answers...I am trying to reclaim the defining tradition of Greek philosophy, philosophy as techne tou biou – the art of living. Though 'art' is not a particularly accurate translation of the Greek techne, which is not art in the sense of our 'fine art', but something between art and craft.") I was also intrigued by Nehamas's idea that "the features that characterize oneself and one's life are similar to the features of literary works. The virtues of life are comparable to the virtues of good writing – connectedness, grace, elegance." If you enjoy this, you might also want to read "Plato or Schopenhauer", the opening chapter of Nehamas's book The Place of Beauty in a World of Art.

An interview with the iconoclastic classics and poetry scholar Camille Paglia by Michael Sragow (himself the author of a recent biography of the American film director Victor Fleming) on the subject of the films of Alfred Hitchcock ("In writing my study of 'The Birds' for the British Film Institute, I had the opportunity to review all kinds of films from Hitchcock's past that were not available when I was young -- films from the silent era and the 1930s that are now on video. I was just stunned by what I discovered: the blatant continuity of Hitchcock's sensibility, down to tiny little details in the earliest films in matters of decor or geographical setting or the plot. It's clear that what we have in the works of Hitchcock really is, despite the ups and downs of the quality of the films, a giant oeuvre – one huge imaginative projection.") You might also enjoy Paglia's essay "The Mighty River of Classics", and "Rhyme and Reason", the introduction to her 2005 anthology Break, Blow, Burn, a set of readings of 43 of her favourite poems ("My secular but semi-mystical view of art is that it taps primal energies, breaks down barriers and imperiously remakes our settled way of seeing. Animated by the breath force (the original meaning of 'spirit' and 'inspiration'), poetry brings exhilarating spiritual renewal....Like philosophy, poetry is a contemplative form, but unlike philosophy, poetry subliminally manipulates the body and triggers its nerve impulses, the muscle tremors of sensation and speech"). Paglia describes the selection process for the anthology here.

Some of these pieces were published many years ago, and discovering them brings home how, on the Internet, as in a library, everything remains "current" in such a good way.

Where Whitehead attributes becoming to final causes, I attribute it to difference or disequilibrium

Objectiles and Actual Occasions
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects

In many respects Whitehead’s actual occasions or actual entities are analogous to what I call “objectiles”. I have adopted the term “objectile” for objects to capture the sense in which objects are dynamic and ongoing activities unfolding or producing themselves through time. Thus the word “objectile” is a portmanteau word combining “object” and “projectile”, so as to underline the sense in which objects are not fixed points in a spatial location, but rather spatio-temporal processes over time. Like Duchamp’s famous Nude Descending A Staircase, objectiles are not to be thought as stationary substances composed of fixed qualities or predicates, but rather as this very unfolding and movement through time and space. Objectiles are not the now in which they are, but are this very adventure across space and time. [...]

Whitehead’s ontology is thus atomistic in character. The universe, for Whitehead, is not composed of one substance, but of an indefinite number of substances, and, moreover, new substances are always coming into being. However, unlike Lucretian atoms that are eternal and indestructable, such that they never change and such that each one always possesses exactly the same properties for all time (i.e., they are immutable), Whitehead’s atoms or actual occasions are complex multiplicities or manifolds that become. “…[H]ow an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is… It’s ‘being’ is constituted by its ‘becoming’” (23). In his earlier work Whitehead thus referred to actual occasions as events. An objectile, actual occasion, or actual entity is an event. And like all events it is therefore temporally elongated. [...]

There are a few points where I diverge from Whitehead’s account of actual occasions. First, Whitehead holds that every actual occasion shares a perfectly determinate relation with every other actual occasion in the entire universe. I do not believe that this is the case. Within the scope of my ontology, the universe does not form a holistic system in which all objectiles are interrelated.

Second, Whitehead attributes a key role to what he calls “eternal objects”, which he treats as potentials and universals (such as the color green and mathematical patterns), to the becoming of actual occasions. For my own part, I cannot see what these eternal objects contribute to the account of the becoming of objectiles.

Third, Whitehead retains the notion of final causation in the becoming of actual occasions, arguing that occasions are pursuing “satisfaction” or completion that they accomplish through the integration of prehensions in a novel and aesthetically pleasing unity. Consequently, it is the final cause that accounts for the becoming of an actual occasion in Whitehead. Where Whitehead attributes becoming to final causes, I attribute it to difference or disequilibrium. Objectiles become because they contain disequilibrium within themselves and disequilibriums are introduced into their being through interactions with other actual entities.

Becoming is the resolution of these tensions or disequilibriums producing new properties or qualities in the objectile, but this resolution of tensions is not governed by final causality but rather by the mechanics underlying the internal organization of the objectile. The resolution of disequilibriums marks the death or completion of an objectile, though the dead entity can still function in the becoming of other objectiles through being prehended by these objectiles.

larvalsubjects Says: March 8, 2009 at 1:04 am Hi Galatia, I think you hit on the issue right here:
My basic problem with this is that it seems to entail impossible conclusions. For instance, if any entity’s ‘being’ is constituted by its ‘becoming’, this is a universal ontological property that would apply to all objects, at all times. Thus if an entity is continually becoming, if we looked at some entity at any phase in this becoming, how could we ever say that it *is*?

If I understand you correctly, when you speak of discussing an entity at any particular phase you’re speaking of the entity as it exists at a point in space-time. I agree that matters become incoherent when expressed in this way. However, as I was at pains to emphasize in the post above and in other posts, we must understand entities not as points in space-time, but as the entire trajectory of their being over time. Like a line that is indecomposible, the being is temporally elongated. Why think of entities in this way? One reason would be that if we don’t we cannot avoid Zeno’s paradox.
I am not sure why it is impossible for an entity to have a stable and relatively autonomous form under this model. The sun, for example, is changing at every moment as it burns its energy, yet still maintains its identity across time. Likewise, the cells of our body are constantly producing themselves and each other at every moment, yet the body possesses an identity over time. Finally, the particles that make up the desk and the monitor are constantly moving, yet they maintain an identity.
It is worth underlining the point that I am not making the claim that at each moment an entity is transforming into a different entity. Our bodies are an ongoing process and set of activities, but this is quite different than the claim that they are becoming a different entity in the course of this

larvalsubjects Says: March 8, 2009 at 2:37 am
I agree, Glen, with respect to Deleuze and singularities. There is something very strange, somewhat ad hoc, and suspect in Whitehead’s account of eternal objects. It wouldn’t be correct, for Whitehead, to say that the sun is an eternal object. Rather, eternal objects would be one thing among many other things the sun prehends in its concrescence. Perhaps it could be said that the eternal object involved in the sun would be the ideal, abstract pattern that the sun strives to embody in the activity of its physical prehensions and self-concrescence. Whitehead talks of eternal objects “ingressing” into physical objects. What bothers me about this account is that he seems to have these ideal entities doing something, rather than simply being mathematical representations of purely physical relations.

March 05, 2009

Sri Aurobindo’s Cosmology is Vedic through and through

Robert E. Wilkinson
Submitted on 2009/03/05 at 7:45pm

There is no need to speculate on the nature of Sri Aurobindo’s Cosmology. It is Vedic through and through. He discusses all this in his “Secret of the Veda”. The New Model of the Cosmos as we might call it, is fully expressed in the Mother’s original plan of the Inner Chamber of Her temple. IT, the Mother tells us, is the “Symbol of the Future Realization”.

The full cosmological content of the Mother’s Inner Chamber has been revealed by “Thea” Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet in her book, “The New Way”. In her epic work, Thea explains the mysteries of Supramental Time and illustrates how it is the basis of a New Sadhana that leads us to the realization of “SWAR”, the Vedic Truth Consciousness. RE Wilkinson

March 03, 2009

What I want to avoid is some mystical hypothesis that the whole is more than the sum of its parts

larvalsubjects Says: March 3, 2009 at 2:05 am Hi Anondynelite,
Perhaps you could say a bit as to why you don’t see Deleuze as a realist.

I suppose the first reason I read Deleuze as a realist has to do with the logic of his account of individuation and actualization. Where the anti-realist or correlationist argues that objects conform to mind such that we cannot know objects as they are in-themselves, thereby restricting our relationship to the epistemological, Deleuze’s claims about individuation or actualization are ontological in character. From his very early works all the way to his final published work, Deleuze is very careful to emphasize that the transcendental field is not immanent to consciousness or, for that matter, anything, but is rather immanent to itself. Moreover, he compares the transcendental field to Spinoza’s immanent being or substance. The transcendental field is thus not something that belongs to a subject, rather, as Deleuze repeatedly emphasizes, rather subjects and objects are individuated out of the transcendental field (and not, under my reading, necessarily together).

Second, Deleuze constantly give examples from ontological domains outside of the subject: physical multiplicities, biological multiplicities, etc. In my reading, Deleuze is not making claims about these beings for mind but in themselves. This reading is further supported by Simondon from whom he draws heavily, where individuation is a question of beings themselves, not for us. Consequently, in my view Deleuze is unique among the thinkers of ‘68 in being the only genuine realist or the only philosopher that doesn’t shackle beings to a transcendental subject, language, the social, etc.

larvalsubjects Says: March 3, 2009 at 2:58 am Kvond,
I agree with you vis a vis Whitehead’s terminology. You might, however, find Science and the Modern World avoids this problem (Process and Reality is a mess, though rewarding and highly suggestive if you can stomach its language).

With respect to my hesitations in treating Green as an object, my intuitions are two-fold. First, my hunch is that in order for something to count as an object it must be capable of independent existence. I’m willing to hold that a cell is an independent object despite existing in a body because a cell can at least potentially exist independently of the other cells to which it is related. Properties like green just don’t strike me as having this sort of nature. In Spinoza’s language they strike me as affections of substances rather than as substances in their own right. In response to this one might argue by arguing that

“sure, instantiations of Green only exist as predicates of substances, but Green is not itself an affection, but an individual existing in its own right as an eternal and enduring object.”

Here the question for me becomes what ontological advantage lies in granting Green substantial existence in this way? The ontological disadvantages are, I think, pretty clear. We get all of the problems of participation that haunted Plato’s metaphysics. The advantage is that it allows us to account for why reality has a particular structure in all instantiations of this universal (here my realism about universals would tend more in the direction of mathematical relationships rather than things like Green).

However, if there is a way of avoiding the affirmation of these strange ontological entities, I would prefer that route being taken rather than asserting this sort of Platonic realism about universals. Again, I have not decided where I shake down on this issue. I do not like constructivist theories of mathematics as my hunch or intuition is that there is something real, mind independent, and ontologically deep about mathematics. I find it remarkable that the world seems to have the same mathematical structure in many instances that we are able to discover through thought alone. This leads me to believe that there is something about being and objects that is itself mathematical. Does this sense lead me to Platonism where mathematical entities are concerned, though?

larvalsubjects Says: March 3, 2009 at 4:15 am Nick,
it seems then that the issue comes down (and this has been mentioned in a number of places on the blogosphere) to emergence. What is it? Does it exist? Is it ontological or merely a remnant of our particular epistemological perspective?

No disagreement here. I’d like to be able to claim both that emergence is ontologically real and that unique patterns of order irreducible to their lower levels result in this emergence. What I want to avoid is some mystical hypothesis that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Bhaskar has some good things to say about this relationship. I’ll try to dig them up this week if I get some spare time as I think they are highly relevant to this discussion and avoid falling into this trap.

Mullah Sadra, Simone Weil, Jacques Maritain, & Abhinavagupta

2009-02-25 Islamic Existentialism
College students today are taught that existentialism is an ideology created in the West, in the twentieth century. This is false, and betrays the Academy's general ignorance of all things non-Western (certainly there are specialized fields of studies, though that doesn't change the fact that in traditional departments (philosophy, history,...) all things from the East are relegated - if at all - to a footnote (a footnote oftentimes belittling, offensive, and smacking of orientalism). Even the Western origins of existentialism, in the thought of Aquinas, are largely ignored, due to the current prejudices against any modes of thought, which emphasize faith and belief.

Existentialism is not synonymous with Sartre and Heidegger. Existentialism is simply a philosophical ontology, which emphasizes existence over essence; becoming / be-ing over being. There have been Christian, Muslim, and Hindu Existentialists; all far prior to the twentieth century! With traditional existentialism, it is a matter of emphasis, not exaggeration. Be-ing, may be emphasized over being, though there is a place for being, and there is not rejection of a Being (Truth, Reality, the Divine, the Sacred, etc.). Perhaps you wonder now if the author is perhaps the mistress of obfuscation; no, not at all; it is really quite simple, if you think about it for a bit!

Islamic existentialism is attributed to Mullah Sadra. In fact, one could say his main advancement (if, that is you agree with his theses) over Suhrawardi, was his emphasis on existence as such. Unfortunately, there is far too little of the primary source material available for readers of English. James Morris' "Wisdom of the Throne", and Christian Jambet's "The Act of Being" are excellent, though necessarily limited. Hitherto, no - even partial - translation into English of his major work, al-Asfar, has come into being. Don't fret!

For one who has an insatiable appetite for all things Sadra, there are options. Though you would not be reading the man, himself, you can get a good idea of his more advanced perspectives through the readings of other religious existentialists (I refer, not to the likes of Marcel, who are thoroughly modern). I suggest the writings of Simone Weil; Jacques Maritain; and the Kashmir Shaivites, such as Abhinavagupta. These will give you a good taste for the doctrine of Sadra; out of the Islamic tradition, as they may be. Or on the other hand, in the true existentialist spirit, travel to Qom and soak up the atmosphere. While there, pray before God as if you were Her sole vice regent upon this Earth, standing alone, with humanity's fate upon your shoulders; then you will understand Sadra and Islamic existentialism. Situated in Hyperreality by Farasha Euker at 18:07 0 comments